Childhood Epstein-Barr Virus infection and subsequent risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence

Several studies suggest a link between early-life infection and adult schizophrenia.

Cross-sectional studies have reported: (1) increased prevalence of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), a member of the Herpesviridae family in schizophrenia; (2) a possible role of Herpes simplex virus in cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia and healthy controls. We report a longitudinal serological study of early-life EBV infection, childhood IQ, and subsequent risk of psychotic experiences (PE) in adolescence.


Serum antibodies to EBV (anti-VCA IgG) were measured in 530 participants from the ALSPAC cohort at age 4 years. Assessments for IQ at age 9 and PE at age 13 were attended by 401 and 366 of these individuals, respectively. Logistic regression calculated odds ratio (OR) for PE in EBV-exposed, compared with unexposed group. Mean IQ scores were compared between these groups; effect of IQ on the EBV–PE association was examined. Potential confounders included age, gender, ethnicity, social class, household crowding, and concurrent depression and anxiety.


About 25% of the sample was exposed to EBV at age 4. EBV exposure was associated with subsequent risk of definite PE in adolescence; OR 5.37 (95% CI 1.71–16.87), which remained significant after confounding adjustment. EBV-exposed individuals compared with unexposed performed worse on all IQ measures; mean difference in full-scale IQ 4.15 (95% CI 0.44–7.87); however, this was explained by socio-demographic differences. The EBV–PE association was not explained by IQ.


Early-life exposure to EBV is associated with PE in adolescence, consistent with a role of infection/immune dysfunction in the aetiology of psychosis.

I recently had allergy testing but there are some food intolerance that the allergy testing didn’t pick up. Soy, for example. I have to treat it like an autoimmune trigger. I’m also gluten intolerant, and for many years that manifested as severe constipation. Anyway, the nurse who administered the allergy testing suggested that I might have an igG deficiency. Was wondering if this igG thing is common among us? Or maybe this explains why going gluten free works for some people and not for others.

Inidentally, last year I had a thyroid test done and my thyroglobulin was a little high. I kind of suspect for us that are so reactive to wheat, that it is both an inflammatory disorder and an endocrine disorder. But not just the thyroid. I was real happy to find google hits when I searched “pituitary inflammation”, as until recently I thought that the only way the pituitary gland could fail was a tumor.

So in addition to the igG test, I will ask my doctor to see if I am making antibodies to my pituitary gland, and I will mention that my thyroid antibodies were high and I need to nail it down. It helps that I’m short. Currently, my working theory is that pernicious anemia is tied into this somehow and I guess that will be my next step. I always suspected that I was B12 deficient when I was having those nasty auditory hallucinations. i don’t get then anymore since going gluten free, but still get extremely, extremely tired. Does any of this make sense to you? I had mono in college, and I know without a doubt that was my trigger.

Also - I’ve read that when the mother is pregnant and has any type of virus (including herpes, which EBV is in the same virus family) - there is an increased risk of schizophrenia in the offspring.

See this link: - Schizophrenia Causes and Prevention, prenatal infection